Monday, July 24, 2017

The Thunder of Wings

It's that time of the year.
     Two days ago, while walking to the compost, a young grouse exploded out of the weeds beside our field, startling me and brightening my day. On the way back to the house two more thundered to the air, catching the attention of Maggie, our youngest German wirehair. For the next twenty minutes she hunted that patch of woods hard, but found no more birds.
     It is the time of the year when the young grouse are exploring their world. The young birds are not always the brightest and either they learn quickly or end up as somebody’s dinner. Often they appear dazed at a roadside and would make easy pickings for hawk. By October they are a different bird, wary and wild.
     Fortunately, at this time of the year, there is a smorgasbord of things to eat. Blueberries are abundant and soon raspberries will follow. Insects are everywhere, to supply much needed protein. All sorts of plants are going to seed,
Her young were hiding in the weeds.
     Two weeks ago, a short distance down our gravel road, a grouse stood like a statue while her brood hunkered down in the roadside weeds. Before we could get pictures, she strutted into the brush to vanish.
     A week before that the same experience happened on a logging road miles in the woods. That one sat for a picture.
     On the way to a blueberry patch this morning we saw a woodcock standing on the asphalt of a winding back road. Before the camera could come out it leapt into the air to fly away in the classic erratic flight of a woodcock. A friend had asked only a day or so ago if I had seen any woodcock lately and I had said no.

     Is it going to be a good bird hunting year? Only a fool will make a prediction. In the meantime the brookies are biting and there are blueberries to pick. 

Headed for a pie.

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